Thursday, January 31, 2013

Butternut Orange Cupcakes

OK, OK, you've been wheedling me for the recipe. So I'm sharing it in my own words.

But I need you to be clear it comes, unadulterated, from Harry Eastwood's superb book Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache. So try it. Love it. And then go straight out and buy the book! She has put a LOT of work into developing it.

These are gluten free. And butter and dairy free too if you change the butter icing for a water icing (icing sugar made into a paste with the orange juice).

Makes 12 regular size muffins

Cupcake mix

2 medium eggs
160 g caster sugar
200g butternut squash
2 tsp baking powder
100g rice flour (NOT ground rice)
100g ground almonds
1/4 tsp salt
juice and zest of 1 orange

200g icing (confectioners) sugar
75g soft unsalted butter
juice and zest of 1 orange

Preheat oven to 180C. Fill a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.

Using an electric whisk, beat the eggs and sugar together for 5 mins until light, creamy and quadrupled in size.

Peel the butternut squash, this uses about one third of an average size one. Remove the stringy bits and the seeds. Then start grating. By hand. Do not use a food processor. Use the finest holes on your normal box grater or Cuisipro grater. This will take some time! Do not do it in advance or it will dry out, and you need the moisture.

Add to the egg mix, along with the other ingredients. Using a spatula stir until fully incorporated.

Spoon into the paper cases and cook for 20 mins. They are ready when risen and golden. Check after 15 mins.

Leave to cool fully before icing. At least 30 mins in a cool place.

Make the icing by whisking the butter and sugar with an electric whisk. Add all the zest, and as much juice as you can, without making it too runny. Ice and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Vegetable Cupcakes

Eating the warm, orange scented cupcake marked a milestone. A bizarre claim for a  humble cupcake. But this was no ordinary cupcake. No ma'am, it was my portal to a new world. The world of vegetable cakes!

So I have finally moved from admiring this year's favourite Christmas present, Harry Eastwood's Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache, a book full of gluten free, low fat, vegetable based cakes (see my review here) --to actually making them! That's one giant leap for womankind!

I have found it hard to get my head around them. You see, I have a weird phobia... There's lots of things that I love to eat but won't cook: chicken liver pate, seaweed dishes, and the latest addition to this list: cakes made from parsnip, turnip and aubergine. Because if I knew what was in there, then my head and taste buds would be doing battle.

And so I took a risk. Butternut based orange cup cakes. Sounds weird, right?

Grating the butternut was the downside, 20 mins hard graft on my lousy box grater (she advises doing it by hand, not in a food processor). The mix looked odd going into the cases. But coming out was fragrant and golden. Pure orange cake, nothing dodgy.

These got a universal thumbs up from assorted mamas and fussy kiddies from 2-8 year olds. No one guessed their secret. And with no butter, only two eggs and no wheat flour were nutritionally far superior to our normal cupcake recipe. Want the recipe? Then here it is!

My neighbour was so impressed, we're going to bake something together from the book next week- so we can share the grating!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Jamaican Ginger Cake

Who can resist the warm, dark stickiness of a traditional ginger cake? I find it impossible to eat less than half a loaf! I was brought up on the shop bought variety, and always presumed they would not be repeatable at home. How wrong I was. This is simplicity itself to make: melt down the sugars and butter, before stirring in the flour. As someone who has to avoid chocolate for long period because of migraines, this cake is as close as you can get to replacing the sticky goo of a great chocolate cake. It doesn't have much butter in the recipe, nor does it have an icing. So I make up for that scandalous lack of fat calories but slathering it richly in golden salty butter. This is one of those cakes that gets better after a couple of days wrapped in foil. That's if you can resist it hot out of the oven.

This recipe is adapted from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's supreme book: Everyday, which I have been cooking my way through this winter.

Preheat oven to 180C

75 g butter
100g dark brown sugar
200g golden syrup
2 tbsp the syrup from a jar of preserved stem ginger and a little more reserved for later
75 ml dark or spiced rum (I used Captain Morgans)
2 medium eggs lightly beaten
225g self raising flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
75 g preserved stem ginger (in syrup), finely chopped.

1 large loaf tin (2lbs/ 1 litre) lined with baking parchment.

Melt the butter, syrups and sugar gently in a pan. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little. Then stir in the rum, eggs and flour.

Pour into the tin and cook for 40-50mins. Check regularly after 20 mins and if it is looking like the top is getting too dark, cover it with foil. It is cooked when a skewer comes out clean.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Lucy loves...Sublime Cakes on Pinterest

Have you been bitten by the Pinterest bug?

 Me? I'm well and truly smitten! Its become my first port of call for recipes recently, my recipe books are sitting forlorn and lonely on their shelf in the kitchen gathering dust. I am a total magpie! And the best thing about Pinterest. It doesn't cost a penny... Nor does it put any inches on your hips!

Let me share some of my favourite boards with you. Starting with: Sublime Cakes... the board title says it all really!

Here I have a host of beauties stacked up ready to try:
Pistachio baklava cake
Pistachio Baklava Cake from 

Persian Love Cake
Get a load of that Persian Love Cake from

Pistachio Olive Oil Cake with Fig Compote Filling and Cream Cheese Frosting
Pistachio Olive Oil Cake with a Fig Compote from

Apple Spice Cake with Caramel Icing, Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake, Butterscotch Mascarpone Cake... I have to stop, I'm dribbling all over the keyboard!

So do check them out here and follow me! 

I'll be sharing more of my favourite boards over the coming weeks!


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